Saturday, May 27, 2017

Is The New Blue Business Plus the Best 0% Intro APR Business Credit Card?

Earlier this week, American Express introduced their newest business credit card, the Blue Business Plus Credit Card. This card actually replaces one of the most popular business credit cards available, the Blue for Business Credit Card.

We think it makes some serious improvements on its predecessor. In fact, for businesses looking to spend less than $50,000 on their business credit cards this year, we think it’s hands-down the best intro APR card anywhere on the market.

Why You Need a 0% Intro APR Card—and the Blue Business Plus Specifically

Before we go into more detail as to why this card has won us over, it’s important to understand what a 0% intro APR card is, so that you can figure out if these types of cards are good fits for you.

To do that, you’ve got to ask yourself two questions:

  1. Are you planning on buying big ticket items or making several one-time purchases in the next year?
  2. Do you plan to pay down your credit card balance over a few months or more?

If your answer to both questions is “yes,” then you should consider 0% intro APR cards.

That’s because these cards act like a zero interest loan, letting you pay down your balance over a set intro period, during which time you won’t pay any interest on your purchases.

So, while these cards aren’t for everyone, they can be absolute must-haves for businesses knowing they’ll need to carry a balance for a bit.

Now, back to this new Amex card, and why we like it.

For starters, it’s got all of the basics of the best intro APR cards: 0% introductory APR period for 12 months and no annual fee.

This is a pretty big improvement over its predecessor, which had just a nine-month 0% intro APR period.

Right now, you’ll find two other cards—the Chase Ink Preferred and the SunTrust Business Cash—which also have 12-month 0% intro APR periods. But you won’t find a single business card on the market with a longer intro period than 12 months.

If Amex stopped there, this card would be—at best—tied with its Chase and Suntrust competitors.

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card: Rewards

Thankfully, they sweetened the deal even further, so much so that we think what really makes this card stand out from the pack are the rewards and welcome offers.

Here’s why: You get 2x points on any purchase on this card up to $50,000, and then 1x points on any purchase beyond $50,000.

The key word there is “any.”

Most 0% intro APR cards come with lots of restrictions on what you can spend money on if you want to earn bonus points.

So, for example, they let you earn 2x or 3x bonus points on utilities bills or airfare purchases, but just give you 1x points on everything else. That can make tracking the purchases you earn points on and those you don’t super tricky for the average business owner. So, in that way, the simplicity of this card is a nice breath of fresh air.

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card: Sign-up Bonus

The last big feature of this card is the sign-up bonus.

Amex is running a “special offer” for this card where you also get a bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend at least $3,000 in the first three months of signing up for the card.

That’s the equivalent of about $400 in value that you can spend on hotels, airfare, and other things through Amex’s rewards site. Now, Amex markets that as a “special offer,” so it probably won’t be around forever, but it’s a nice perk for early adopters.

What Are the Drawbacks to Consider?

No card is perfect, and there are some drawbacks that you should be aware of before getting this card.

  • Remember, once that intro period is up, your APR can rise to a lot higher—in this case it’ll go up to 11.99% to 19.99% depending on a host of factors like your creditworthiness. So just make sure you pay off your balance before your intro period ends. Missing your minimum monthly payments, even by a single day, could result in your credit card issuer revoking your 0% intro APR offer. And that means you’ll be stuck paying interest somewhere along the variable APR range, which defeats the purpose of getting the 0% intro APR card in the first place.
  • If your business purchases tend to be concentrated in only one or two areas, then there are better 0% intro APR options for you. For example, with the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card you get a lot of the same features as the Amex card, including 0% intro APR for 12 months and no annual fee, but you also get 5x points for the first $25,000 spent in one of a few select areas—like purchases in office-supply stores or cell phone payments. And you get 2x points for the first $25,000 spent in other select areas—like gas stations and restaurants. You get 1x points on everything else.
  • If your business doesn’t need such a long intro APR period, then the Capital One Spark® Cash Select and Spark® Miles Select may be better options for you. Both cards have no annual fee and a nine-month 0% intro APR period (vs. the Amex 12-month period), but the Cash Select lets you earn 1.5% cash back, with no caps or limits, and the Miles Select lets you earn 1.5x miles, also with no caps or limits.

Ready to Apply?

Here’s the bottom line: This new Amex card is a great fit for small business owners looking for a card with a long (i.e. 12-month) 0% intro APR period, no annual fee, and some serious, flexible rewards points earning potential.

Just make sure you pay the card down in full before the 0% intro period is over. If making timely payments is a challenge for you, consider setting up auto-pay on your account so you don’t have to worry about losing that no-interest offer.

The post Is The New Blue Business Plus the Best 0% Intro APR Business Credit Card? appeared first on Fundera Ledger.

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